Waxwings

Bombycillidae

Taxonomy Version: IOC 8.2
family
Taxonomy Ranking
Level Rank Scientific Name

A small, homogenous family (three species in a single genus, Bombycilla), waxwings are medium-sized brown/grey birds with a black-and-white eyestripe and small crest. Their secondary flight feathers have red waxy tips, which gives the family its name (though the feature is rarely seen in Japanese Waxwing B japonica). Bohemian Waxwing B garrulus is found across the northern hemisphere (on both sides of the Atlantic) and is encountered in Britain and Ireland in most winters,  sometimes in large numbers; Cedar Waxwing B cedrorum is restricted to North America and is only encountered as a rare vagrant in Europe. In years of poor berry crops waxwings are subject to irruptive winter movements, when they are often seen feeding on the berries of ornamental trees and shrubs in towns and cities.

  • Waxwing - Nottinghamshire © Mike

  • Waxwing - Hertfordshire © Tony Knight

  • Waxwing - Cleveland © Paul Welsh

  • Waxwing - Cleveland © Unspecified

  • Waxwing - Hampshire © Darryl Gorman

  • Waxwing - Britain © Nick Truby

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Scientific Name English Name Rank Rarity (UK) Image
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